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Defence chief: US expanding special operations force in Iraq

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Defence Secretary Ash Carter (second left) passes by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (second right) as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, to testify before the committee's hearing on the US Strategy for Syria and Iraq and its Implications for the Region.
Defence Secretary Ash Carter, center, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford Jr., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, yesterday.
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WASHINGTON (AP):

Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the United States (US) is expanding its special operations force in Iraq to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight Islamic State (IS) militants.

Carter told the House Armed Services Committee yesterday that over time, these special operators will be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture IS leaders. He said that will improve intelligence and generate more targets. He did not offer troop numbers, but said it was being done in cooperation with the Iraqi government.

The defence secretary says the special operators will be focused on defending Iraq's borders and building the capacity of the Iraqi government forces.

He said the forces also will be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria.